WAYNE Bedggood has returned as mayor of Upper Hunter Shire Council with Maurice Collison remaining his deputy.
Both were elected unopposed at an extraordinary meeting on Monday night.
Councillors will now elect a mayor every two years instead of annually due to recent changes to the Local Government Act.
Council is also set to determine whether the deputy mayor will continue to be elected every year or in line with the mayoral election.
Mayor Bedggood said he expected the next four years to be highly-productive.
“I’d just like to thank my fellow councillors for allowing me to lead council into this new term,” he said.
“We have a lot of big projects on over the next four years and also have a lot of aspirational things that we want to try and accomplish.”
Several “big ticket” items such as the Scone Bypass, Murrurundi water pipeline, and funding for covered areas at White Park and the sale yards are expected to be completed in the next few years.
Mayor Bedggood said work would also continue on roads and bridges, while he admitted council’s communication engagement needed to be addressed.
“It’s something that the previous council worked very hard on and it’s something that we’re strong advocates of,” he said.
“We’ve implemented a lot of changes to our communication strategies but the feedback we’re getting is that we’re still not there.
“So we’ve got to work much harder at that.”
Following the extraordinary meeting, the new council held its first ordinary general meeting.
Apart from the mayor and deputy mayor, the other seven councillors present included Lee Watts, Ron Campbell, Kiwa Fisher, Lorna Driscoll, Sue Abbott, Joshua Brown and James Burns.
The meeting included dozens of decisions such as funding requests and the updating of council policies.